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Creators: A life outdoors leads to amazing images by Joel Coleman





Creator Profile

Diving experience leads to waterhousing use in the surf for Coleman...

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 February, 2016 - Joel Coleman tries to spend as much time in nature as possible. This addiction to the outdoors shows in his images. There is always a lot of space surrounding the subject, and in some cases this space IS the subject.

Starting at age 14, Joel was photographing sports carnivals for his school magazine and, by age 17, he was photographing professionally around school hours and spending his remaining free time in the darkroom. (remember film?) Working as a dive instructor in his twenties allowed him to experiment and later master underwater photography, which now makes up a large part of his key collection of images. 

“I travel to as many places as I can on this earth, I am fascinated by the natural world and want nothing more than to spend my time photographing it. I share my journeys through my photographic journal in both images and words.”


Where are you from and what you shoot with?
I’m from Manly Beach in Sydney Australia. I shoot with Canon DSLR’s for action and Credo medium format for landscape
How did surf photography start for you?
I started in photography when I was in the early years of high school. All my friends and I surfed so it was a very logical path to start getting photos of my mates in the surf. Around age 14 I started doing a lot of diving as well which is where I got started using in-water camera equipment.


Share with us something that most people don’t know about surf photography.
That the quality of images being produced around the world is getting better exponentially. It means if you want to stay in the game you have to keep learning, improving and pushing new ideas. It’s probably the most exciting part. 
Tell us about that one time you almost died, on a surf trip or in the water. 
Lets just say that lots of surfers have shark stories, very few have crocodile stories… "I was in the water photographing before dawn one morning on a reef in the tropics. One of the guys surfing said there was a large log floating in the lineup and I should watch out for it. I turned and asked where and he pointed to where it was only to see it submerge and then resurface a few meters further away. It was obvious at that point it was not a log, but a damn big croc… We were surfing a break between two rivers, chances are it was just swimming from one river to the other. Nothing more was said and we all stayed in the water.”


Name one photographic image you saw that changed the way you approach photography.
I saw a photograph of a wave somewhere in Indonesia with a volcano in the background. The colours were incredible and the composition was the first time I had seen a shot where the wave only made up a tiny portion of the frame, but held such strength in the overall image. When I saw that it immediately made me rethink my approach to photographing waves. I’m not sure who took the photograph, I tried to find out but the people working in the store had no idea. I wanted to buy it, but they would not sell it to me. 


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